Industry 4.0 is the maximum techno-economic goal that developed countries have set for the 2020s in order to optimize the industrial sector.
Industry 4.0 will represent the cybernetic conversion of production, storage, organization, etc,… generating an interconnected intelligent and sustainable network.
This innovative concept was devised at the Hannover (Germany) technology festival in 2011 and has since progressed, overcoming challenges and obstacles aiming to become a reality.
What is Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is the modern name for the fourth industrial revolution, which will be characterized by being digital and cybernetic. The main goal is to exploit the development of artificial intelligence software.
In the fourth industrial revolution, binary information will be the cornerstone of a highly complex digital structure, formed by internet, nanotechnology, cyber-physical systems, robotics, algorithms, and others.
In this revolution, the manufacturing processes will be self-sufficient, seeking to satisfy the exacting demands of the global market and offering quality customization to customers.
Things to highlight about the new industry
The main emblem of Industry 4.0 is the cyber-physical system, as it will be the base of the new production system, which will be controlled and monitored wirelessly by artificial intelligence software.
The cyber-physical system of the fourth industrial revolution is a very complex “whole” made up of multiple technologies (developed and / or under development), however, there are certain characteristic aspects that deserve to be highlighted:
- Digital information: information will be extracted from the physical industrial world to be converted into the binary language (1s and 0s), and then build the digital industrial world.
- Interconnectivity: data will be stored by using cloud computing, to which customers (and other authorized people) will have access to through the Internet of things.
- Internet of things: any object can be remotely monitored, because it will be wirelessly connected to the internet, constantly transmitting information.
- Cybersecurity: data from the cloud and the Internet of things will require special security protocols and encryptions, as they will be susceptible to cybercrimes, such as theft of industrial information.
- Big data: it’s a computer analysis technique that allows processing abundant amounts of information.
- Augmented reality: in Industry 4.0, simulations will allow testing alternative production processes, showing their real impact.
Advantages and disadvantages
Despite the emphasis on the productive benefits of Industry 4.0, the truth is that behind the innovative veil there are significant contrasts.
The emerging and experimental technologies of Industry 4.0 will cause profound changes in society, so they will need to be adjusted and normalized by new labor laws.
To understand this new industrial reality, we present both its main advantages and disadvantages:
- Increased quality and quantity of products, due to automation.
- Reduction of expenses, time, errors, and production risks.
- Increased personnel safety.
- Instant access to digital information.
- Development of a new dimension of business competitiveness, to meet new demanding consumer needs.
- Personalized customer service.
- Efficient management and use of resources to reduce the negative impact the industry may have on the environment.
- Large initial investment.
- The constant progress of technology requires the company to continually update, which tends to be unsustainable for most organizations.
- It will cause a significant economic gap between companies that have adapted and those that haven’t to the industry 4.0 model.
- Requires specialized personnel for the analysis and monitoring of automated processes.
- Increase in unemployment in the short and medium-term, since automated machines will displace people from their jobs in factories, etc…
- Absolute dependence on technology.
What Industry 4.0 wants to achieve.
The main aim of Industry 4.0 is to create industrial warehouses and intelligent logistics centres that maximize production benefits and minimize losses and expenses.
Basically what Industry 4.0 is looking for is to automate the industrial sector by digitizing production chains and storage, using advanced data processing devices, intelligent software, etc.
Digitization and automation are an integration of technologies, which provide greater flexibility to production and allow customers to customize products according to their needs. In addition, it will allow a minimum level of storage.
Also, Industry 4.0 seeks to introduce new industrial management techniques, which replace the already obsolete traditional techniques, in order to manage and analyze more information.
With Industry 4.0 simulations it will be possible to mould realistic situations to test different improvements and alternatives in production.
Finally, a 4.0 industrial warehouse will be able to find the ideal way to save energy and material resources, in favor of the environment.